Remembering Ahmad Mahmoud

Posted by By at 4 October, at 12 : 11 PM Print

Remembering Ahmad Mahmoud

Thursday, October 4, 2018 marked sixteen years since the passing of Ahmad Mahmoud (1931-2002), a great writer and a dear friend. We first met in the summer of 1966 when I was a medical student, and soon became very close. He had worked a number of different jobs since youth and had spent some time in prison for leftist political views and oppositionist activity. I will never forget those Friday afternoons in the late- ‘60’s when he would read from his handwritten novel, Hamsayeha (The Neighbors). Soon after, he gave me the task of finding a publisher for his two novels Pesarak Bumi (The Native Boy) and Gharibeha (The Strangers). I approached the Karbasi Brothers, owners of the Babak Publishing Company. They were reluctant to take on Ahmad’s work, but they had had a good run with my series of Vijeye Cinema & Theater books, so, with some persuasion on my part, they agreed to print the books. The rest is history; those two little books became a huge success, and various prints followed.

Ahmad’s work, vision and way of life had an undeniable impact on my own life, so much so that my heart fills with joy every time I think of him and the respect, I feel for him. As such, I am especially happy and proud that I was successfully able to return to Tehran in July of 2002, where, amid constant threats and a close call in which I was almost arrested by the regime’s secret police, I shot footage for my two documentaries, History of Iranian Cinema and Ahmad Mahmoud: A Noble Novelist, before successfully escaping the country. Ahmad died not too long after my visit, but in the intervening time, he told me that he would not sit down with anyone else for any interview, as he trusted in me to tell the world about him through my film. It remains the only filmed document of his life and work. I myself have not been back to my native land since, not even for the funeral of my beloved brother Behrouz in 2008. I am currently writing an account of those few harrowing weeks I spent there in 2002 and hope to have it published soon. I will never forget those who helped and supported me, nor will I forget those who wished to put me in a cage. For the former, I wish nothing but the utmost happiness; for the latter…well, I prefer not to say. I would rather put aside such unpleasant thoughts and concentrate on remembering my friend, his tremendous talent and his undeniable courage. May we all see a day when the artistry through which he inspired us can be expressed freely throughout the entire world.

For those who are interested in the work of Ahmad Mahmoud, there follow another two links to articles written to commemorate the anniversary of his death. The first is by Mehdi Marashi and the second by Faraj Sarkouhi

Bahman Maghsoudlou

New York, October 4, 2018



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